How to set boundaries
Working a corporate job, owning a business, being a mom, or all three feels like you’re dancing with chaos all. The. Time.
Heather Greco, the Chaos Coordinator, knows a thing or two about chaos, getting it all done, and still finding time to breathe. As a mom of 3, podcaster, and small business owner, she’s familiar with chaos — and the feelings of overwhelm it brings.
But I wanted to have Heather on the podcast because she’s discovered a way to control the chaos, and she’s sharing her system with us! Before we talk about her Chaos Control System, though, let’s dig into what overwhelms us and how we can address it.
Balance Doesn’t Exist
We all want “work/life balance” right? Well, one of the first things Heather told me is that she doesn’t like the word “balance.” It’s far too unattainable. Instead, life should be about managing the chaos that comes your way.
Some days your management will be amazing, and some days you’ll feel like you just barely got by. But when you strive for balance, you’re striving for a goal that you’ll never actually feel, which just leaves you disappointed!
Prepare For The Worst, Hope For The Best
Heather considers herself a “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” kind of person. Currently going through a divorce, she recently took on a full-time job in addition to mom-ing and her business. So many people would feel extremely overwhelmed in this position, dealing with constant stress.
But luckily, Heather hasn’t had to succumb to the chaos. By preemptively planning for the fallout of divorce on her life, she’s created a position in a women-owned legal services company that allows her to put motherhood first while still paying the bills.
One of the things that have helped her the most through this divorce is taking everything one step at a time. Instead of trying to think through every piece of her divorce at once, Heather is allowing herself to navigate the chaos at whatever pace is necessary.
So, how can you control the chaos in your life? As the Chaos Coordinator, Heather shares her best tips below!
Live and Die By Your Calendar
Now, we all know that normal life doesn’t always follow a routine. But among the chaos, Heather runs as tight of a ship as she can. She has a color-coordinated calendar that she keeps track of schedules in each month.
In fact, she “lives and dies by” her calendar. Outside of the shifting daily schedule, Heather makes sure she carves out buffers in between appointments to allow herself to take a breather and spend time with the kids.
Additionally, each kid knows exactly which color belongs to them. Heather even has a virtual calendar she shares with her nanny, her mom, assistant, and anyone else who needs to see her schedule. This helps make sure that she isn’t going back and forth with people and that everyone is always on top of communication.
This is huge! How many times has your spouse or kid asked what you’re doing on a specific day? Give them access to the calendar so you don’t have to do the work for them!
You Can’t Do Everything Yourself
Heather delegates out tasks and projects wherever possible. This lets her focus on her sanity and what actually moves the needle instead of the smaller tasks!
A few years ago, Heather was doing everything herself. Motherhood, business, household management, you name it. But after having her first child, she realized that doing it all just wasn’t possible without putting something at risk.
She started small by having a nanny in the house while she was home. Many parents might be worried that they’ll hire childcare or a nanny who puts their best foot forward for the first few weeks but then doesn’t do as great of a job after that.
The way around this? Hire someone to help out with the kids while you or your spouse are home, at least for a few months. This lets you keep an eye on things, makes you available for any questions, and helps ensure the person you hire is making the same parenting decisions you would.
Know what your limitations are, and get some help when you hit those limitations! We’re not meant to be and like everything. So go ahead and find out what you don’t like and… hire out for it!
Systems, Processes, and Routines Are Key
Do you find yourself intimidated by the idea of having systems? Don’t worry, many people do! But the great thing is that systems don’t need to be this overcomplicated, convoluted thing.
The truth is that you probably have systems in place already — they’re just subconscious. All you need to do is take a step back and examine what those systems are…. And then write them down.
It’s like having your home organized. You know where the jelly and Q-tips are, but if someone comes into your home, they won’t!
You need to write these systems down and make them simple for another person to follow. It might sound crazy, but what happens is this:
When you don’t have each step written down, you’ll end up doing everything yourself to make everyone’s life easier (except yours!) But writing down the systems turns them into a communication tool, just like the calendar, and allows you to bring in additional help where necessary.
This is also great for any employee turnover, whether in your home or business. The truth is that most people won’t be with you forever, and creating a written process and overview of all of the responsibilities of a position is the best way to ensure things are done in the same way.
This takes time, but if you write things down one by one, you’ll eventually have a system for everything in your life. How great is that?
Organizing the Systems
Okay, so you have a written system for everything. Now… where does it live?
Most of the time, we throw away lists and notes as soon as we’re done with them. For example, say you and your spouse are going on a date and leaving the kids with a sitter.
You’ll have written down emergency contact numbers, where you’re going, family members, etc. And most of the time, when you come home, that goes right in the trash. But as Heather points out, why reinvent the wheel?
Instead, put everything into a PDF. Heather’s PDF has everything she could possibly need for her household to run smoothly, but it’s also editable. Things like names and birthdays don’t change. But things like schools and teachers will.
Heather keeps a printed copy of this PDF in a binder This way, it’s not bound, which allows her to edit and replace individual pages instead of having to replace the entire thing with one change. It also allows her to have a digital copy of everything. So no matter what happens, there’s always a backup copy.
One of the biggest time-wasters is having to search for information. Keeping everything in one place means you’ll never have to search for that one piece of information!
The Contingency Plan
We all know life doesn’t stop for tragedy and chaos. If your spouse is in the hospital, you’re going through a divorce, or something else happens, you’re still going to have to work, leave kids with sitters, and do other things.
You need passwords, you need to pay bills, and you need to get things done, even in the face of the greatest tragedy. And having all of this information in one place means that, if the worst happens, everything can still move forward.
There are too many factors that we can’t control in life. We can’t control another driver and stop them from hitting us, or whether a pandemic throws our entire life off. But when you have a clear system of information, you’ll know that your kids will be taken care of no matter what happens to you.
No One Can Read Your Mind
Knowledge is power in any situation. And implementing a system like this arms the people in your life with as much information as possible.
If you’d like to have a system like this one, Heather actually has a template version you can purchase here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on creating systems to organize the chaos! Leave a comment below, and make sure you’re subscribed to be notified when the next episode goes live!
In this episode, we talk about:
- How Heather lives and dies by her calendar
- Why having a written system is the best contingency plan
- How to create a family playbook for hired help
- Creating contingency plans for when the chaos is too much to handle
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- The Key To More Productivity & Joy: How To Get Better Sleep With Becca Campbell
- End Overwhelm With Systems And Processes With Stacy Tuschl
Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts
If really like what you hear, I’d be so grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Your review plays a HUGE role in helping others find out about It’s About Time. And honestly, they’re really fun for me to read! Click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what you’re loving about It’s About Time. Thank you!!